Every month, we anticipate which big companies will be in making headlines for taking small steps toward a more sustainable future, and every month we wind up with something to celebrate.
We know these massive corps are imperfect, and it's our job as conscious consumers to let them know when they can do better. Even a quick email can make a difference. But it’s also important for us to acknowledge when companies are making moves that benefit the planet (even tiny ones!)—and encourage them to continue moving in that direction.
From Burger King's fully vegetarian restaurant to Abercrombie & Fitch's partnership with ThredUP, here are the headlines you won't want to miss this month.
5 Companies Making Planet-Friendly Changes
1. Burger King
Fast food chains aren't necessarily known for being eco-friendly. However, several of them are starting to take steps in the right direction.
A Burger King restaurant in Madrid, Spain, just went 100% vegetarian, removing all meat from its menu. If you get the chance to visit, you'll find everything from a meat-free chicken sandwich to chicken nuggets. All of its meatless items were created in partnership with The Vegetarian Butcher. Luckily, you don't need to travel that far to get a taste of BK's plant-based food.
The chain also recently launched Impossible Nuggets, a plant-based alternative to its chicken nuggets, in select locations in Des Moines, Iowa; Boston, Massachusetts; and Miami, Florida. Previously, BK launched the Impossible Whopper and Croissan'wich in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
With these menu updates, the fast food chain continues to lead the way. (Especially with this being the first time plant-based chicken nuggets have hit the U.S. fast food market!) Here's to hoping they become a permanent menu item after the test is complete.
Speaking of plant-based fast food, McDonald’s recently announced it's testing its plant-based McPlant burger as part of a partnership with Beyond Meat in eight U.S. restaurants next month. The food chain is hoping to reduce its large carbon footprint by making Beyond Meat one of its major suppliers.
So, what can you expect? The patty will be served on a sesame seed bun with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and a slice of American cheese. "It has the iconic taste of a McDonald’s burger, because it is one," reads the press release. Considering McDonald's serves roughly 50 million burgers a day, this could be a huge win for the planet.
Nestlé has made some major sustainability promises recently, including a commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050. While the company still has a long way to go, it's recently taken some action toward that goal by announcing two new products: vegan eggs (called vEEGie) and vegan shrimp (called Vrimp).
Both of these products are currently available in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. If the program expands, it could make an impact: It takes 50 gallons of water to produce a single egg, and shrimp farms heavily pollute groundwater. Therefore, accessible plant-based alternatives could save resources.
Resale programs are having a moment. Not long after H&M announced its new resale program, Adidas partnered with secondhand shopping platform ThredUP for a Choose to Give Back program. Customers can send in old clothes, shoes, and accessories from any brand to be resold, donated, or re-used.
How does it work? Customers ship their items (for free!) through Adidas’ Creators Club loyalty app. Depending on the product and condition, you can then receive loyalty points and vouchers. The program rollout will start early next year.
5. Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch is heeding customers' calls for more sustainable fashion. In an interview, the brand announced new ways to be more sustainable, including joining the United Nations Global Compact, partnering with ThredUP, and switching to renewable energy in offices. Hopefully, there are even more eco-friendly moves to come.
"At a corporate and brand level, we’ve engaged several strategic partnerships to help us achieve broader sustainability goals to help strengthen communities around the world while reducing our environmental footprint," says Fran Horowitz, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. "There's no finish line to this work, and we’re committed to showing up for our associates, our customers, and our partners in authentic ways to continue the driving change we know they want to see."